tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN May 6, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PDT
make some great memories today. >> much more ahead on the next hour of "cnn newsroom." we turn it over to our colleague fredricka whitfield. >> thanks so much. take care of that cough there. take care. it's the 11:00 eastern hour, fredricka whitfield, "newsroom" starts right now. hello everyone. ghosts of the 2016 election still haunting the trump administration as questions over russia's involvement linger. after suggesting he would cooperate with the investigation, former trump campaign advisor carter page is now telling a senate intel committee if they want to know about his conversations with the russians, ask former president barack obama. this comes amid a new report from "the washington post" that members of trump's transition team warned former national security advisor michael flynn about his conversations with the russian ambassador weeks before he was forced to resign.
overseas, just hours before france heads to the polls to choose its next president, the leading candidate says his campaign has been hacked. the reaction to the allegation on the eve of this crucial election. and fresh off their vote to repeal obamacare, many republican lawmakers are back at home and meeting face-to-face with constituents. anger over the vote already bubbling up at town halls. >> you're mandating people on medicaid accept dying. you are making -- >> no one wants anybody to die. you know, that line is so indefensible. nobody dies because they don't have access to health care. >> all right. we'll talk more about all of that, but first we begin with the new development surrounding michael flynn. "the washington post" reports he was warned by senior members of the trump transition team that the russian ambassador he was
communicating with was likely being monitored by u.s. intelligence. >> this is a soon after the election, you know, there's what's referred to as landing teams, which are being set up for different government agencies by the trump campaign. it's now the transition. and so you had the head of the landing team for the national security council, he basically learns that flynn is planning to have a conversation with kislyak, the russian ambassador, and he's concerned and wants to basically provide him with information. he wants him to know that his conversation with kislyak would probably be intercepted by, you know, the fbi here in the u.s., which is monitoring ambassadors like kislyak and other ambassadors. and overseas when kislyak finishes his conversation with a u.s. official, he'll often send a report to moscow. and the nsa might pick that up. >> all right. cnn is working to confirm "the
washington post" story and seeking information from all involved. cnn washington correspondent ryan nobles is following this and joins me live now. ryan, what more do we know? >> this is important, fredricka, because it demonstrates there were officials inside the trump transition that were concerned about kislyak's role in the russian government and the conversations that flynn was having with kislyak. in addition to warning flynn that perhaps any conversation he had with kislyak could be picked up by american intelligence agencies, they also asked the obama administration for a full cia profile on sergey kislyak and actually gave that to michael flynn. what's not clear is whether or not flynn actually read that profile. and despite these warnings from not only trump transition officials but the obama administration, flynn continued in communication with kislyak right up until his time as national security advisor. of course, fred, his tenure in that role was short, only 24 days after it was revealed that
he did indeed talk about sanctions by the u.s. government on russia with kislyak despite saying he had not, fred. >> and then another close advisor during the trump campaign he says he was an advisor, trump has said it wasn't that much of a player but somebody who was in the arena. so it seems as though carter page is less than cooperative with the investigation on the hill than first thought, to what degree? >> yeah, that's right. and, fred, carter page is a key player in this investigation. exactly what he knew when he knew it and how close he was with russian officials is something that the senate intelligence committee is very interested in. and at one point page seemed to indicate he was going to cooperate, that he was an open book and had nothing to hide. but he has certainly changed his tune quite a bit. he wrote a very strongly worded letter to the intel committee basically saying that he wasn't going to cooperate or offer them any information. here's part of that letter to
the senate intel committee. he wrote, quote, i suspect the physical reaction of the clinton/obama regime perpetrators will be more along the lines of severe vomiting when all the facts are eventually exposed regarding the steps taken by the u.s. government to influence the 2016 election. and page went onto say in this letter that if the intel committee is interested in his communications with russia that they should ask president obama because he is sure that he was under surveillance. now, the intel committee said they're interested not only in records from carter page but also former campaign chairman paul manafort. and advisor roger stone. and the intel committee has said they are willing to subpoena those records if they need to. so, fred, we're clearly at the front end of this investigation. and it's clear that the intel committee is prepared to go to whatever lengths necessary to get the information that they're looking for. >> all right. ryan nobles, thank you so much. appreciate that.
let's talk more about all of this. i'm joined by cnn political commentator and assistant editor at "the washington post," david. david, you first. breaking the information about the trump transition team knew and about michael flynn, what they informed him of et cetera, so vice president pence, you know, has said he was unaware of flynn's connections to russia. but this is suggesting the team did know beforehand, in fact even gleaning information from the cia profile of michael flynn. so does this now promote new questions about exactly what the transition team knew, what pence may have known, the truth behind his firing? >> fred, it might promote new questions. it might just add onto a list of older questions. it's certainly possible that vice president pence did not
know individually what the transition team had told according to our reporting had told general flynn about his potential contacts with ambassador kislyak. the idea that the transition knew it could be a problem that kislyak's conversations could be monitored by our intelligence agencies and warning flynn not to meet with them. if vice president pence didn't know that, okay, but then you have to ask yourself was he out of the loop of the transition, were any other senior officials out of the loop of the transition? maybe they were. and then the other problem is this, again, if at the time general flynn, fred, was let go from his position as national security advisor, the trump administration position was that he was let go just because he didn't tell the truth to vice president pence. >> right. >> but they said he didn't do anything wrong. but if he wasn't doing anything wrong, then why was the transition warning him not to meet with ambassador kislyak? we don't have the answer to that
question yet. >> so, alice, how problematic is this? because now it's an issue of was he lying to the vice president, did the vice president know, was it the transition team perhaps didn't share this information with the vice president and does it simply also raise other questions about the chance the transition team the trump administration was willing to take knowing what it knew about michael flynn and knowing what the cia already had on him with a profile? >> fred, a lot of great questions there we might not know until the end of this investigation. and what we may find out this could be a situation of the cover-up is worse than the crime. look, it's not unusual for someone in flynn's position on a transition team to reach out to other foreign leaders. the question is whether or not he discussed sanctions. and the thing here that makes this unusual is this was right around the time sanctions were a topic in the news.
>> so i guess the fact that he more problematic for michael flynn as opposed to what i'm really asking with that litany of questions how problematic it for the trump administration now has to answer to all of those questions i laid out and more. >> it sounds as though they weren't aware of the level of conversations that were being had and exactly what was being discussed. flynn wasn't completely honest with it. he was clearly not honest with vice president pence about this when he was preparing him for the sunday show. so that's the problem is to the degree how many conversations he had, what was discussed, it doesn't appear as though he was forthcoming with the transition team and in turn the trump campaign and the trump team. so i don't hold the trump transition team and the administration at fault as much as mike flynn and his inability to come forward with the truth. >> fred, can i add one thing? >> go ahead. >> i was going to add two things, i see what alice is saying certainly. even though it's not illegal in any way certainly and maybe not
untoward or inappropriate or anything not to be aware of what general flynn was doing during the transition period, it does not speak well of the efforts of the transition or the incoming administration to get on the same page about their agenda with regard to russia if they didn't know -- if one hand of the transition essentially didn't know what general flynn was doing and then another hand of the transition was telling him, you know, you may want to think twice about meeting with ambassador kislyak because his conversations may be monitored by our intelligence agencies. and general flynn was the former head of the defense intelligence agency. he certainly should have known that what he was doing would be closely scrutinized even if he wasn't doing something technically outside of the law. >> and then there's the issue of carter page, alice. the senate intel committee receiving this terse letter. and now saying it's willing to subpoena for details about page's communications with the
russians. do you see that is the direction in which it will have to go? >> it appears that way. and, look, carter page has spoken on many sides of this issue. and it still is unclear the level of his involvement with the trump campaign and the trump foreign policy team. and his conversations here. and, look, it's clear right now with the situation, with the senate intel committee, he's calling their bluff. he's basically acknowledging and saying that he hasn't done anything wrong. >> what does that mean? because his demeanor has changed. at first he seemed he was going to be very cooperative, but now this was real obs nins. >> yeah, saying me as an individual i didn't do anything pales in comparison to the clerical juggernaut he called it going on in the administration, i.e. the obama administration, so he's urging go look at what the obama administration did. he's implying more than anything
that he's a victim of what appears to be a witch hunt in his mind. so he's turning the tables. but i wouldn't be surprised if he really fights back against responding to that subpoena, but that's the only way it appears now they're going to get him to talk. >> quickly, david, might that backfire? >> yeah, it might. i think he already is fighting back. remember, fred, you played at the top that clip of my colleague adam entos talking to cooper last night, adam was one of the reporters in the national security team who reported april 11th that the fbi had obtained a fisa warrant to look into carter page last year. so this is actually so carter page suggesting in this very aggressive way that the obama administration was looking into him, that's already out there. we've already reported that. so the question is why. and then the other question is why does he seem like now after a few days ago saying he would cooperate with the senate committee is he now sort of, you know, equivocating a little bit on that. >> david swerdlick, alice
stewart, thanks so much. see you soon. >> thanks, fred. straight ahead on the eve of a krushl presidential election in france one candidate's campaign claiming it is a victim of hacking and its important files and e-mails dumped for the world to see. the question now, who might be behind that. touches sticks with them.ly make sure the germs they bring home don't stick around. use clorox disinfecting products. because no one kills germs better than clorox.
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are you one sneeze away from being voted out of the carpool? try zyrtec® it's starts working hard at hour one and works twice as hard when you take it again the next day. stick with zyrtec® and muddle no more®. welcome back. on the eve of a crucial election in france, one presidential candidate's campaign says it has been hacked. emanuel macron's campaign says the hack is meant to, quote, undermine democracy like it happened in the u.s., end quote. france's electoral commission is asking the media not to publish details. russian officials also quickly weighed in. a spokesman for the kremlin telling cnn, quote, these, like other similar accusations, are based on nothing and are pure slander, end quote. we've got full coverage. melissa bell is in france. and matthew chance is in moscow. melissa, let me begin with you.
so what kind of information if any has been released and might it sway voters? >> well, this is precisely the question, the one that's going to be troubling voters even as they go to the polls, fredricka, since they're simply not going to be able to get their hands on the material itself, or at least not terribly easier and that's because of this blackout period that we're in. it's because of the warning we've heard from the electoral commission this morning about the fact that none of the contents of these documents, many thousands of which were of course leaked late last night can be passed on, can be broadcast, can be aired. and even passed on by private citizens on social media. so you've got this big question mark in the minds of many voters as they go to the polls. the electoral commission by the way also just warned that parts at least of what was leaked could be fake. so it's not necessarily all genuinely hacked documents from emanuel macron's campaign team. so there is this huge amount of doubt about what they contain, is there anything actually that could cause concern for the macron campaign or is it simply because it's embarrassing and
this is what the campaign suggested is ordinary kind of correspondents you have in the course of a campaign much as you saw in the united states between the democrats, but because of this blackout period, because of the timing of the leak you're going to get a lot of people going to the polls tomorrow with this question mark hanging over precisely what's going on. >> and so, matthew, the kremlin has reacted very quickly, why? >> well, because there was a suggestion that has been carried in lots of media reports when this story first broke when the macron team said they'd had a massive data breach and this information had been released in the same way that it had been released in the u.s. elections last year, there was an implication that the russians were involved, they categorically denied that. we spoke to them, they said this like other similar accusations are based on nothing and are pure slander. the kremlin of course has denied that and it of course denies the u.s. hacking as well. but this whole issue in france
right now has been instantly compared not least by the macron team to what the united states endured last year during the presidential elections there where u.s. intelligence officials of course say they have strong evidence that russian hackers were involved in attempting to manipulate the election results by dumping data onto file sharing websites and elsewhere in order to discredit the candidateture of hillary clinton. that's exactly what emanuel macron's team says has happened on this occasion. this was an attempt to undermine his campaign. so i suppose you could say it's deja vu from their point of view. >> melissa, this is the second phase of voting. what is turnout expected to be like tomorrow? >> that's one of the big unknowns, fredricka, how many people will actually make their way to cast their ballots in this election. marine le pen of course is the woman who made it through to the
second round. she came in second in the first emanuel macron beat her unexpectedly, really no one imagined he'd get this far. but he does have no established party behind him. he's standing as an independent. so for him the crucial thing to beat the far right is going to be to get the vote out. but this is not a man with a natural electorate. he polled about 24% of voting in the first round. he's going to have to get a lot more people out tomorrow to make sure he sees off the far right's marine le pen. it is anyone's guess how big that electorate will be at this stage, fredricka. >> all right, melissa bell, matthew chance, thanks to both of you. appreciate it. straight ahead, in this country a closer look at the house republican health care bill that is now before the senate. who gets hurt, who gets helped. and what about pre-existing conditions? we'll break it all down for you next. life. intelligent technology can help protect it. the all-new audi q5 is here.
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the health care bill that narrowly passed the house on thursday now faces an uphill battle in the u.s. senate. as the white house celebrates the political milestone right there in the rose garden, senators are already warning major changes are in store. fallout from the vote already evident at town halls across the country. here's republican congressman raul labrador last night in idaho. >> you're mandating people on medicaid accept dying. you are making -- >> no one wants anybody to die. you know, that line is so indefensible. nobody dies because they don't have access to health care. >> all right, folks, very vocal there. meantime, senate republicans have created a group, just take a look, all 13 men there. and they're crafting their own version of the health care plan. cnn chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta takes a look at the current house bill, what's in and what's out.
>> well, fred, as you've pointed out and others have pointed out, nothing is a done deal yet. obviously this still has to go to the senate. and this whole bill is probably going to be changed dramatically even at that point. so we'll see what happens, but with regard to what we know so far with this ahca, want to focus on a few of the things that are going to be different with regard to this plan versus the current system. first of all, you see the list there, income-based subsidies. that's going to be a subsidy as opposed to tax credits. individual and employer mandates, they may be going away. that means employers such as even large employers may not necessarily have to provide health care insurance anymore. the pre-existing condition protection and the essential health benefits right in the middle of the list there, those are two of the big ones. fred, if i can for a second, with regard to pre-existing conditions, here's what could happen. right now the plan basically says the states, whatever state you live in, could get a waiver. that waiver could be used for
insurance companies that say we no longer have to charge the same premium to every person of the same age living in a community. we could charge somebody more if they have a pre-existing condition. some sort of pre-existing illness for example. if somebody lets their health care coverage lapse for more than 63 days, that's the magic number here. they no longer have the pre-existing protection. and that's what a lot of people are concerned about. you have 117 million people in this country, fred, who have some sort of chronic illness. they are the ones paying the closest attention to this worried that this could effect their health care premiums in the future. and also those essential health benefits, again, should insurance plans have a minimum level of health benefit that is guaranteed no matter which health insurance you buy, the people who are for this particular bill say no get rid of those essential health benefits. that will lower the cost of insurance. that will give people more choice. people who are against that say, yeah, but if a health care plan doesn't do for you what it needs to do, what good is it?
there's going to be a lot more on this, fred, going forward. we'll stay on top of it. back to you for now. >> sanjay gupta, thank you. let's talk more on this. jonathan gruber is with me, he also helped create massachusetts health care program under mitt romney and now teaches economics at m.i.t. good to see you, jonathan. >> good to see you as well. >> so as it pertains to this house bill, still no cbo report numbers, no publicized specifics of the draft. so let's take a look and compare, you know, some of the elements of the proposal versus the existing affordable health care. right now let's take a look. and let me know, is this reform, or is this replace to you, rebranding? so we've got income based subsidies that are no longer part of the equation, individual and employer mandates no longer, pre-existing condition protections. we just saw by way of interviews of a number of house members
there's no guarantee on that as is in the current plan. what's in with the current plan, the age-based tax credits, penalties for coverage lapses, high risk pools. so and then the list goes on. how would you compare these plans? >> well, i think, you know, as paul krugeman said it best, this is obamacare version 0.5, based on every dimension takes affordable care act and makes it worse. take one example, the tax credits, seems obscure but important to understand. under obamacare it's set up so a low income person only has to pay a certain per tcentage of their income to make it affordable. under the alternative the same person gets a flat amount and has to pay all the difference. so one example pointed out by the congressional budget office is that a 64-year-old at 175% of poverty would see what they pay for health insurance go up about eight fold under this
alternative. that's just one example where they essentially take a program that was crafted to protect people, make insurance affordable and make it worse on every dimension. >> so the primary objective for obamacare was that it would be affordable and accessible. and you just, you know, stipulated that your premium it would be a percentage based on your income. then why is it there are still so many americans who have taken advantage of obamacare whose biggest complaint is the premiums are too high or they've increased or it's for many people still too expensive even with that percentage that you just laid out too expensive for them to actually sign up. >> that's a great point. and there's a couple things going on. first of all, a lot of people are blaming obamacare who aren't actually affected by it. so if you have for example employer-sponsored insurance, obamacare's not effecting your premiums. that's not the issue. it's really the people who are buying on the exchange without subsidies. so we're talking about a total of maybe 3 million americans. a lot of people, but not nearly
as many who are saying negative things about the law. for those americans health insurance is really expensive. and that's about the underlying cost of medical care. that's about getting those under control. but if you look at the premiums on the exchanges, they were actually where they should have been. what i mean by that is insurers came in way too low in 2014. they made a mistake basically. they underbid. and then in this last open enrollment they had to crank premiums up to essentially get back to where they should have been, but after that things were stabilized. by all projections the market was going to be stable. there was no one without an insurer and premiums grow at a regular rate this year until trump got elected. he's now broken it. he broke open enrollment, he's breaking the mandate and now he owns it. all the higher premiums, all the areas with no insurers, that's on trump because we solved the problems before he came in. >> so those who are proponents of the new plan are arguing that it's just not fair for a healthy person who doesn't need much
health care to pay the same amount that someone who has pre-existing conditions or who has, you know, other needs of medical care. and so this new plan is designed to allow healthy people to pay less. people who are older, people who are sick would pay more. what's the matter with that argument? >> well, look, i think that's a legitimate argument. we just have to recognize the consequence. the people who make that argument say look healthy people can pay less, but don't admit sick people pay more. so basically you have to ask yourself for example if you strip out mental health protection from essential benefits, you're saying that's true, people don't have mental health needs will not get to pay less. but people who do have mental health needs will have to pay more. and that's legitimate debate to have. who should pay more and should pay less, but it's not the debate we're having. the debate we're having is a false one where proponents of
the alternative are saying everyone wins, healthy wins, they're not admitting people who are sick lose. do we think women should pay more for insurance? do we think people who are sick should pay more for health insurance? i don't. other people may think it's okay. that's a fine debate to have, but let's have an honest debate about that. let's not pretend it's all easy. >> what would better incentivize people to get onboard to a health care plan? whether it be aca or the house proposed bill, what do you propose is missing that would incentivize people? >> well, i think the first thing that's missing is sort of understanding what health insurance really does and the risks we all face. a lot of people healthy today are not healthy tomorrow. many people face a risk of a large expenditure and understanding that risk and understanding that for a healthy person there are options out there that are not overly generous insurance. they're actually reasonably skimpy insurance compared to what employers have but are affordable for most people and
people start with that. people for whom it's not affordable, we then need to go back and revisit how we fix the law, not tear it down but do things like for example expand medicaid in states that haven't expanded it so we get sick people out of the risk pools into medicaid. honor the reinsurance payments we promised to make to insurers republicans wouldn't let us pay. there are $8 billion of payments owed under the affordable care act that republicans blocked. if those payments were made premiums could come way down. >> jonathan, we'll leave it there. thanks for coming back. >> my pleasure. >> tomorrow morning 9:00 eastern on "state of the union" jake tapper will talk about the future of health care in america with health and human services secretary tom price and ohio governor john kasich. be sure to watch that. we will be right back. >> what does the phrase black lives matter mean to you? >> that is a touchy subject.
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>> the mesquite skeeters started their spring practice without jordan edwards, a freshman who was excited to compete for a spot on the team. his life was cut short on a weekend night leaving a crowded house party. the straight-a student athlete was shot and killed in his brother's car by a police officer. faculty at mesquite high school mourned edwards' loss and describe him as one of their best. >> you see and hear the student that's always smiling, happy, the energy that he brought into the room, you know, when you ask his teachers what they thought about him, every one of them said he was awesome. >> et wards loved football and became friends with the school's new coach. >> he knew he was one of our best athletes, but even more just one of our best all around kids. he was a coach's dream. he was very self-motivated and had a lot of goals on what he wanted to do down the road. >> the very same day the
15-year-old should have started spring practice, his family received word that the officer who killed him had been fired. >> after reviewing the findings, i have made the decision to terminate roy oliver employment with the balch springs police department. >> roy oliver was responding to a neighbor's complaint about noise and possible underage drinking. oliver and his partner were looking for the homeowner when they said they heard what sounded like gunfire. oliver then ran into the street and fired his rifle into the car that edwards was in hitting the teenager in the front passenger seat. police department department chief originally said that the car reversed aggressively toward the officer. but after review of the body camera footage, he acknowledged that wasn't the case. oliver, an army veteran twice deployed to iraq, is now charged with murder. the edwards family praised the decision to fire oliver saying they'll seek justice for their son.
they tweeted, quote, we fully expect an equivalent response from those responsible for investigating and punishing crime. the family has asked for privacy in their time of mourning and requested the community refrain from protest or marches in their name. and the family of jordan edwards holds a funeral for the teen later on today. so much more straight ahead in the "newsroom" bu first sanjay gupta has tip to living to 100. >> most people ignore stretching. and i think stretching is so important in terms of whatever goal you have, whether it's weight loss, whether it's building muscle, but none of that's going to be possible certainly not in the long run unless you're stretching and really taking care of those muscles and tendons to make sure they're healthy and not as likely to get injured. there's been all this debate about when's the best time to
stretch. i think there's been pretty good evidence that stretching before workout may not be the best thing. couple of reasons. first of all, your muscles, tendons rgs everything is cold. if you start to actively stretch that, you could potentially injure yourself. if you stretch too much beforehand it could hurt your performance during your actual exercise, the best time to stretch is after your workout. according to the national academy of sports medicine, stretching is not something that's supposed to be a particularly long activity. really no more than 30 seconds. you can push yourself a little bit, but you never want to push yourself to the point where it hurts. that's when injuries start to occur. stretching is really about flexibility, both the body and of mind. put those things together, that can help you live to 100. >> living to 100 brought to you by johnson & johnson, go to cnn.com/livingto100.
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welcome back. breaking news, we now know the identity of the navy s.e.a.l. killed in somalia earlier this week. cnn's barbara starr is on the phone with me now. barbara, what can you tell us? >> good morning, fredricka. the military has now identified this man as senior chief special warfare operator kyle milliken. 38 years old. he is from maine, killed earlier this week about 40 miles west of mo , have been working with somali forces to go after al shabaab, the al qaeda affiliate in sm somalia. senior chief milliken we also know now was a member of s.e.a.l. team 6. s.e.a.l. team 6 of course was the elite navy s.e.a.l. team that conducted the raid so many
years ago against osama bin laden kidlling him in pakistan. we don't know if senior chief milliken was on the raid, but we do know he was part of the team in those years. his biography rd by the military lists him as being in the same unit that he is -- was in when he was killed. and having received a medal, an award, that president obama did award to the navy s.e.a.l. team after the osama bin laden raid. so this is very tough news for the u.s. military, for the navy s.e.a.l.s and these advised missions, these advisory missions, that special warfare teams have been on so many years now, proving increasingly to be deadly. we have seen, sadly, u.s. troops killed in afghanistan, in iraq, and now in somalia in recent
days on these very type of advisory missions. fredricka? >> very sad. all right. barbara starr, thank you so much. >> we'll be right back. time when i can get it. i need my blood sugar to stay in control. i need to cut my a1c. weekends are my time. i need an insulin that fits my schedule. ♪ tresiba® ready ♪ (announcer) tresiba® is used to control high blood sugar in adults with diabetes. don't use tresiba® to treat diabetic ketoacidosis, during episodes of low blood sugar, or if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. don't share needles or insulin pens. don't reuse needles. the most common side effect is low blood sugar, which may cause dizziness, sweating, confusion, and headache. check your blood sugar. low blood sugar can be serious and may be life-threatening. injection site reactions may occur. tell your prescriber about all medicines you take and all your medical conditions. taking tzds with insulins like tresiba® may cause serious side effects like heart failure. your insulin dose shouldn't be changed without asking your prescriber. get medical help right away if you have trouble breathing, fast heartbeat, extreme drowsiness, swelling of your face, tongue, or throat, dizziness, or confusion.
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milli ken. donald trump's journey to the presidency have given comedians a treasure trove of material nor zojokes but a stri of anti-trump jokes may have gotten late night host stephen colbert in hot water. >> you attract more skinheads than free rogaine. you have for people marching against you than cancer. you talk like a sign language gorilla who got hit in the head. the only thing your mouth is good for is being vladimir putin's [ bleep ]. >> oh, boy. so the part that was bleeped, sparked complaints to the fcc. and the #firecolbert.
the fcc chairman said thursdays his agency with will investigate as it does any complaint. let's bring in cnn senior media correspondent brian stelter and legal analyst paul paul calllan. if the government went after every comedian that made a trump joke there would be a lot of work. what's different about this one? >> i would say that liberals all over my social media feeds are making this into a big deal, when it is not. there's been some misinformation about what the government is doing in this case. you know, right now, fred, if i said here on cnn that donald trump looks like a cheeto you could write a complaint to the fcc and they would read it and review it and wouldn't do anything about it because we have lenient standards this country thankfully for what you can say and not say on television. so yes, there is a review. there will be a review of the complaints that have come in. colbert's jokes were vulgar, a lot of people thought they were inappropriate. but that's what makes our broadcast system great, is that there's a lot of leniency with
regards to what you can say on television and throughout the american media. there will be a review but i think the fcc is being clear it's extraordinarily unlikely they would take action against cbs. >> paul, meantime you're not lenient, right. you penned an op-ed on cnn.com and you are calling for cbs to fire colbert. why? >> yeah. i think it's outrageous. the level of obscenity, the crudity, the vulgarity of the language that he used is just beyond the pale and it doesn't really have to do with donald trump attacking donald trump personally, of course, we always -- americans always joke about the presidents and late night comedians do, but when you use the level of obscenity and, you know, implying that the president was having oral sex with putin, it just -- it was so beyonds the pale that i don't think he belongs in that seat, the cbs perch he's in. it's too important and he's abused his responsibility to the public. >> and paul -- >> i would say it's fine for a
corporation to make a decision about who to hire and fire, but what we don't want i think any of us is the government deciding and trying to sensor be and in this case the government is not doing that. it's going to look at the complaints and i doubt they will do anything. if it had not been bleeped, if the joke had nonbeen bleeped, shown a sex act on television, maybe there would be a violation of fcc guidelines and cbs fined. i know a lot of people agree with you but it's different to have a corporation make a decision versus the government, right? >> oh, i agree, brian. this is a business decision being made by cbs. about who should be heading up that show and whether, you know, he should accord a certain amount of respect to the institution of the presidency. it's not the fcc decision. i think the fcc could hand down a fine. i don't think they will because there are first amendment issues here, even though this was clearly obscene conduct, under the first amendment, he has the right to criticize the president of the united states.
i agree with you, i don't think the fcc will act. >> and so colbert is standing by his monologue. this what is he said earlier. >> i had a few choice insults for the president in return. i don't regret that. i believe he can take care of himself. i have jokes. he has the launch codes. so -- it's a fair fight. so while i would do it again, i would change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be. >> so, does this kind of up the ante, brian, because, you know, donald trump is the leader of the government, fcc, government agency, it's donald trump who is taking offense to this particularly, and so are many of his supporters saying, you know, fire colbert. >> we are in a very, very polarized time and colbert is gaining viewers by being harshly
critical of president trump. on the other hand, chanels like fox news have gained an audience for folks who want to hear a positive narrative about the president. there are a lot of choices in the media and if we were to see the government start censoring and fining networks that would be a serious concern but we're not there. >> and paul, quickly, why would that not be considered censoring if the fcc were to come down hard on colbert or encourage a firing? how do they escape that image? >> i want to be clear, the fcc has fined broadcasters for obscenities with respect to broadcasting. expletives have been fined. but this is a form of political speech and political criticism of the president and i don't think in the end the fcc will tamper with colbert's right of free speech. that's an entirely different question from the questions